California State University, Long Beach

California State University, Long Beach (CSULB, Long Beach State, Cal State Long Beach, LBSU, or The Beach) is a public university in Long Beach, California. The 322-acre campus is the third largest[7] of the 23-school California State University system (CSU)[9] and one of the largest universities in the state of California by enrollment, its student body numbering 37,776 for the Fall 2016 semester. The university continues to receive record numbers of applicants; for Fall 2018, it received 102,879 undergraduate applications—the most of any CSU campus.[10] The school has a 28% acceptance rate. In 2017, 17,650 out of 63,048 applicants were admitted making Cal State Long Beach a highly competitive school to get into.[11] As of Fall 2014, the school had 2,283 total faculty, with 36.7 percent of those faculty on the tenure track.[12] With 5,286 graduate students, the university enrolls one of the largest graduate student populations across the CSU system and in the state of California.[13] The university is located in the Los Altos neighborhood of Long Beach at the southeastern coastal tip of Los Angeles County, less than one mile from the border with Orange County.[14] The university offers 82 different Bachelor's degrees, 65 types of Master's degrees, and four Doctoral degrees.[15]

California State University,
Long Beach
Former names
  • Los Angeles-Orange County State College (1949–50)
  • Long Beach State College (1950–1964)
  • California State College, [at] Long Beach (1964–1972)
MottoVox Veritas Vita (Latin)
Motto in English
Speak the truth as a way of life[1]
Endowment$77.2 million (2018)[3]
PresidentJane Close Conoley[4]
ProvostBrian Jersky[5]
Academic staff
2,283 (839 tenure track)[6]
Students38,074 (Fall 2019)[7]
Undergraduates32,784 (Fall 2019)[7]
Postgraduates5,290 (Fall 2019)[7]
Location, ,
United States

33.783022°N 118.112858°W / 33.783022; -118.112858
CampusUrban, 323 acres (131 ha)
ColorsBlack and Gold[8]
AthleticsNCAA Division IBig West
NicknameSharks, Dirtbags
AffiliationsCalifornia State University system

Long Beach State is one of the West Coast's top universities in terms of student body racial diversity, being named the 5th most diverse university in the West by U.S. News & World Report.[16][17] It is also home to one of the largest publicly funded art schools in the United States.[18] The university currently operates with one of the lowest student tuition rate in the country, at $6,420 per year for full-time students with California residence.[19]


The college was established in 1949 by California Governor Earl Warren, to serve the rapidly expanding post-World War II population of Orange and Southern Los Angeles counties. Since then, CSULB has grown to become one of the state's largest universities.

The institution was first named as Los Angeles-Orange County State College. Peter Victor Peterson was its first president.[20] It offered 25 courses, taught by 13 faculty members, in two apartment buildings at 5381 Anaheim Road in Long Beach. In June 1950, the citizens of Long Beach voted overwhelmingly to purchase 322 acres (130 ha) as a permanent campus for the college, then known as Long Beach State College. The purchase price was nearly $1 million. Student enrollment grew rapidly in this new, permanent location.

Carl W. McIntosh was named the college's second president in 1959.[21] While McIntosh was president, the school grew tremendously. Enrollment surged from about 10,000 to more than 30,000,[22] and he rapidly expanded and revamped the curriculum.[21] McIntosh tripled the number of faculty and constructed 30 new buildings.[22] Although the 1960s were a period of deep unrest on American college campuses, McIntosh's collegial governing style, gentle and quiet demeanor, and willingness to permit protest on campus (so long as it remained quiet and peaceful) helped keep Long Beach State College relatively quiet throughout the period.[23] In 1964, LBSC changed its name to California State College at Long Beach. In 1967, the California state legislature revamped the state college system. It changed its name in 1968 to California State College, Long Beach, as part of these changes and began to be much more closely integrated into the California State College system.[24] However, then as now, it is still called "Long Beach State" for short, especially in athletics.

In 1965, CSULB hosted the first International Sculpture Symposium to be held in the United States and the first such symposium to be held at a college or university. Six sculptors from abroad and two from the United States created many of the monumental sculptures present on the campus. The event received national media attention from newspapers around the country, including The New York Times, Los Angeles Times Magazine, Art in America and a six-page color spread in Fortune.[25]

McIntosh departed for Montana State University in 1969, and was succeeded by President Steve Horn. The California State University Board of Trustees elevated the school to university status in 1972, along with 12 other state college campuses. The decision was made based on total enrollment, size of graduate programs, complexity and diversity of majors and number of doctorates held by faculty at each college. CSCLB thus became California State University, Long Beach, or CSULB.

Also in 1972, the campus became the home of the largest library facility in the then 19-campus CSU system: a modern six-story building with a seating capacity of nearly 4,000 students.

In 1995, President Robert Maxson initiated the privately funded President's Scholars Program, providing selected qualified California high school valedictorians and National Merit finalists and semi-finalists with a full four-year scholarship package, including tuition, a book stipend, and housing. As of May 2010, over 1000 students have accepted the scholarship.[26] For applicants for Fall 2010, National Achievement Program Semifinalists/Finalists and National Hispanic Recognition scholars were also considered.[27]


The campus spans 323 acres (131 ha) across 84 buildings, and is located 3 miles (5 km) from the Pacific Ocean. It has its own U.S. Postal ZIP Code, 90840. CSULB is located at 1250 Bellflower Boulevard. It is bounded by East 7th Street to the south, East Atherton Street to the north, Bellflower Boulevard to the west, and Palo Verde Avenue to the east.


The architecture of the campus is mostly of the International style (designed primarily by architect Edward Killingsworth) and is very minimalist, placing emphasis instead on the landscaping that surrounds it. This naturalistic, park-like layout has earned the campus numerous design awards, as well as other awards from gardening societies. Recent construction maintains the characteristic glass-and-brick style. The integration of landscaping and architecture is apparent at the school's theater complex, where a dense grove of ficus trees is planted in such a way that it forms a continuation of the pillar-supported canopy at the theater's entrance. The university's registration offices are located in the open courtyard of Brotman Hall, which is "roofed" by a similar jungle-like canopy. The Psychology building is also notable for its soaring, airy courtyard planted with tall Eucalyptus trees.

Campus landmarks

The University Student Union (USU) building is located at the center of campus. The three-story glass building occupies roughly 180,000 square feet (17,000 m2), housing numerous offices, and offering more casual attractions, including a study lounge, a ballroom, a food court, a bowling alley, an arcade, and a movie theater.

The Rec and Wellness Center is an extensive all-purpose athletic center covering about 125,000 square feet (11,600 m2) on North Campus. It was completed in 2010. It includes facilities for fitness programs and aerobics classes, courts for volleyball, basketball, badminton, rock climbing walls, an indoor track, a student lounge, and much more. The Center is funded and managed by CSULB's Associated Students, Incorporated[28] (ASI).

49er basketball and volleyball games are currently played in the iconic, eighteen-story Walter Pyramid (formerly known as the Long Beach Pyramid) located on north campus. The Pyramid is a state-of-the-art sporting complex that can accommodate over 5,000 fans, including temporary seating and standing room. Two sections of interior stands are fitted with large hydraulic lifts that can lift the seating elements 45 degrees into the air, creating room for five volleyball courts or three basketball courts.[29] The Pyramid is home to the Southern California Summer Pro League, a noted showcase for current and prospective NBA basketball players.

The University Art Museum (UAM) ranks in the top 10% of the nation's more than 6,000 museums. Its permanent collection contains primarily abstract expressionist paintings, works on paper, and an outdoor sculpture garden that began in 1966. The UAM was the first accredited museum in the CSU system.[30] In addition, the museum's Gordon F. Hampton collection is housed at the Downtown Los Angeles law offices of Sheppard Mullin.[31]

The campus is also home to the Carpenter Performing Arts Center, a 1,074-seat theater named after CSULB alumni Richard and Karen Carpenter.

The Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden is an artistic retreat of solitude and beauty. Among its many picturesque attractions, the Garden features a large pond populated with koi.

Panoramic view of the campus's sports fields, prior to the construction of the SRWC.


The campus is built on an ancient Tongva village and burial site known as Puvungna, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. CSULB has challenged this designation, claiming they were not consulted when the application was filed. From 1992 to 1995, when the university attempted to build a strip mall and student housing on the last undeveloped portion of the campus, the Tongva people filed a lawsuit and initiated a protest, which involved physically occupying the land day and night to stave off bulldozers.[32] The site remains as an undeveloped grassy area with a few trees.

Campus sustainability

The university, in its push to support climate sustainability, installed solar panels on the Brotman Hall building and the Facilities Management canopy parking in 2007.[33] The university has been taking steps in addressing the challenge of sustainability, with the support of its student government, student body, and organizations, such as the Environmental Science & Policy Club.

The Environmental Science & Policy Club (ES&P Club)[34] has brought support to environmental awareness and sustainability through club activities, such as coastal clean-ups, hikes, plant-restoration project, tabling, conferences, guest speakers, & Kaleidoscope. In 2006, the ES&P Club supported the installation of waterless urinals in the university's men's restrooms.[35] The ES&P Club hosts an annual Earth Week celebration each April, including documentary screenings, discussions, and speaker series.[36][37]

In addition, there has been a push in recent years to revive the organic gardens on campus, culminating in 2015 with the launch of the Grow Beach University Gardens, a student-led ASI sub-group that promotes organic gardening and sustainable agriculture on campus. The new garden boxes are part of a campus-wide effort to provide a natural, organic, and convenient garden right on campus for student and faculty use.[38][39]

The university "has a comprehensive energy management program incorporating real-time metering and energy-saving technologies such as the EnergySaver, which provides a more sophisticated alternative to turning off the lights by automatically varying the voltage to the ballasted fixtures and reducing the power consumed, while maintaining appropriate lighting levels."[40]

Desert Studies Center

The Desert Studies Center is a field station of the California State University located in Zzyzx, California in the Mojave Desert. The purpose of the Center is to provide opportunities to conduct research, receive instruction and experience the Mojave Desert environment. It is operated by the California Desert Studies Consortium, a consortium of 7 CSU campuses: Fullerton, Cal Poly Pomona, Long Beach, San Bernardino, Northridge, Dominguez Hills and Los Angeles.


CSULB comprises eight academic colleges:

Together, the colleges offer a total of 81 baccalaureate degrees, 67 master's degrees, 16 education-related credential programs, and three doctoral degrees (two joint and one independent).[41]

The university's educational goals reflect its large population of students and faculty. Among the numerous classes and majors, Liberal Arts and Sciences represent the General Education (GE) core, while a variety of classes make up GE electives; all GE classes focus on the development of writing and critical thinking skills.

Academic department reputations

With nearly 4,000 students, CSULB is home to the largest Physics Department at any university in the State of California, inching past UC Berkeley, UC San Diego, and Cal Poly SLO.[42] Additionally, the graduate physics program is the largest non-Ph.D. granting program in the United States [43] and is one of four Minority Bridges to the Ph.D. sites established by the American Physical Society.[44] The graduate program in philosophy is recognized as being one of the top terminal MA programs out of nearly 200 world-wide.[45] CSU Long Beach's College of the Arts has more art and design majors than any other public university in America. CSU Long Beach also produces the most master of science in nursing (MSN) graduates in the 23-campus CSU system.[46]

U.S. News & World Report has repeatedly ranked CSULB engineering program as one of the Top 50 undergraduate programs in the nation (amongst master's level universities), and even commended the university's programs for first-year students as "stellar examples of academic programs that lead to student success."[47][48]

In addition, according to the National Science Foundation, CSULB is the top campus in the nation amongst Master's level-granting universities for producing students who go on to earn doctoral degrees in the Sciences.[49]

In 2011, a new $105 million "Hall of Science" facility opened which has offices and labs for members of the biology, biochemistry and chemistry, geology, physics and science education departments. This building also houses a hands-on museum for children, a large salt water marine biology lab and has a greenhouse facility and observatory on the roof.

In March 2008, the music department was renamed the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music in honor of an endowment gift of $16.4 million from his estate. Cole, a Long Beach real estate investor, long-time music lover, and amateur pianist, died in 2004. The gift benefits the students of the conservatory in the form of scholarships and other awards.[50]


Fall Freshman Statistics[51]

Applicants 61,80660,74356,96656,53955,89654,970
Accepted 17,65019,71119,65020,32719,68116,957
% Admitted 28.632.434.536.035.230.8
Enrolled 4,1384,2534,5064,3344,3424,276
Average GPA 3.533.533.543.523.503.43
Average SAT 111010441051105410501017
*SAT out of 1600, GPA out of 4.0

CSU Long Beach has become the most applied to campus in the California State University system, receiving over 102,000 applicants with a low acceptance rate of 28%,[11] edging out San Diego State in number of applicants and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly SLO) in percentage accepted.


University rankings
Forbes[52] 272
Times/WSJ[53] 319
Times[54] 1001+
U.S. News & World Report[55] 1283
U.S. News & World Report[56] 20
Master's University class
Washington Monthly[57] 24

USNWR graduate school rankings[58]

Engineering 156-199

USNWR departmental rankings[58]

Fine Arts 69
Health Care Management 61
Physical Therapy 118
Public Affairs 123
Public Health 119
Social Work 68
Speech–Language Pathology 141

The 2020 edition of U.S. News & World Report ranked Cal State Long Beach tied for 20th among all Western U.S. regional universities that offer some masters programs but few doctoral ones, and 5th best public university in the category.[59]

In 2019, Washington Monthly ranked CSULB College 24th in the U.S. among Master’s universities based on its contribution to the public good, as measured by social mobility, research, and promoting public service.[60]

In 2019 Money magazine ranked Cal State Long Beach 13th in the U.S. out of the 744 public and private schools it evaluated for its "Best Colleges For Your Money" ranking,[61] 10th in its list of the 50 best public schools,[62] and 5th for the "10 Best Colleges for Transfer Students".[63]

Forbes named CSULB 37th out of America's 299 "Best Value Colleges" for 2019.[64]

Cal State Long Beach was selected as one of Princeton Review's 2018 edition of its annual guide, "Colleges That Pay You Back: The 200 schools That Give You the Best Bang for Your tuition back." One of only two universities in the California State system.[65]

Student life

Campus publications

The university has three student publications: the Daily 49er,[66] 22 West Magazine[67] (formerly The Long Beach Union Newspaper) and DIG Magazine.[68]

The first issue of the Daily 49er, the campus newspaper, was published on November 11, 1949. It publishes Monday through Thursday during the fall and spring semesters, and once weekly during the summer sessions. It was one of the first college newspapers in the country to have an Internet edition, starting in August 1994.

22 West Magazine, which is partially student-funded, and affiliated with ASI, publishes every month during fall and spring semesters. It began on April 22, 1977, when it was formed in response to the Daily 49er. The Union Weekly focuses on being an alternative voice on campus and features a satirical section called "The Grunion" (not to be confused with the Long Beach paper the Grunion Gazette). During the late 1970s through 1980s, the Union was a daily newspaper, giving heavy competition to the Daily 49er. Journalism majors who worked on the "Union" did so under a pseudonym as it was a practice forbidden by the dean of the Journalism department.

DIG Magazine, the campus magazine, has gone through many changes throughout the years. It started off as The Lantern, a magazine for night-time students, before transforming to UniverCity in 1973. Then, it turned into University Magazine. In the early 2000s, the magazine transformed to DIG Magazine as a music magazine before transitioning to a general art & culture magazine. Today, the magazine features interesting people and groups within the community, and discusses topics that concern students' interests.

KKJZ 88.1 FM

Fall 2018 Demographics of student body[69]
* All levels, freshman through graduate
African American 3.7%
Asian American 16.3%
Filipino American 5.0%
Pacific Islander 0.3%
White European Americans 18.2%
Native American/American Indian 0.1%
Mexican American/Chicano 33.0%
Other Latino American 9.0%
Multiracial Americans 4.6%
Non-resident alien 6.4%
Unknown 3.4%

The California State University Long Beach Foundation owns the KKJZ non-commercial broadcast license of 88.1 FM, a jazz and blues radio station. Global Jazz, Inc., an affiliate of Mount Wilson FM Broadcasters, Inc., programs and manages the radio station. In 2015, Global Jazz moved the station thirty miles from Long Beach to West Los Angeles.[70] While KKJZ began as a radio station exclusively playing Jazz and Blues music it has recently expanded its playlist to include Rhythm and Blues artists.

22 West Radio

22 West Radiois a free format, student run internet radio station at CSU, Long Beach. It is also an HD Radio station via 88.1 HD3 as of 2013. The radio station is operated year-round. The station has been around in various forms since the mid-1970s, then known as KSUL (which went defunct after 1981). 22 West Radio is a department of Associated Students, Incorporated at CSULB and is both funded and regulated by them.[71]

Pow Wow

Each March since 1970, the university has hosted the largest pow-wow in Southern California. This free two-day event, which attracts more than 6,000 persons each year, features Native American dancing, arts, craft and native foods.

Student Recreation and Wellness Center

The $70 million Student Recreation and Wellness Center is located on the northeast side of campus.[72] It opened in Fall 2010.

Greek life – sororities and fraternities

Fraternities (NIC)[73] Sororities (NPC)[73]

Eight national sororities on campus are governed by the Panhellenic Association and are members of the National Panhellenic Conference. Eleven general fraternities are members of and governed by the Interfraternity Council. There is also a Cultural Greek Council which governs over six sororities, six fraternities and one co-ed fraternity. Within the last 5 years, two fraternities have been removed for various instances of sexual assault and misconduct, specifically Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Sigma Chi. The latter's expulsion was not made known to the university community, causing controversy within the student body.[74]

Student Housing

CSULB Provides Housing to accommodate 3,000 students.

  • Beachside College - Off-campus student housing with 2 apartments and a pool.
  • Hillside College - 8 apartments with dining hall.
  • Parkside College - 9 apartments with dining hall.


The Long Beach State 49ers compete in NCAA Division I in 18 sports teams and plays competitively in baseball, cross country, softball, track and field, women's tennis, and women's soccer, as well as both men's and women's basketball, volleyball, water polo and golf teams. The university is a founding member of the Big West Conference, and also competes in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation for sports not sponsored by the Big West.

In the realm of sports the school is referred to as "Long Beach State." The official name of Long Beach State sports teams is "The 49ers" in honor of the year the university was founded and for the prospectors of the California Gold Rush one hundred years before then. Unofficially, "The Beach" is used to refer to Long Beach State and its sports teams as it is the only university on the West Coast with the word "Beach" in its name. One can see the cheer "Go Beach!" written on many CSULB products around campus and on the large water tower near the entrance to the campus.

The school colors have been black and gold since 2000, when they were changed by a student referendum (after George Allen changed the football uniform colors) from the original brown and gold.[75]

Notable people

CSULB has more than 320,000 alumni as of 2018.[76]

Alumni have written, acted and directed screenplays that have attracted Oscar-caliber talent. David Twohy (BA[77]) co-wrote the screenplay for the Academy Award winning film The Fugitive.[78] Linda Woolverton (BA 1974[77]) wrote the screenplays for the Academy Award-winning,[79][80] Disney animated films Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King, and the live-action 2010 film Alice in Wonderland directed by Oscar-nominated director Tim Burton and starring Oscar-nominated actor Johnny Depp. J. F. Lawton (BA[81]) wrote the screenplay to Pretty Woman, starring the Oscar-winning actress Julia Roberts. Mark Steven Johnson (BA 1989[77]) has co-written and directed the films Daredevil, starring Oscar-winning actor Ben Affleck, and Ghost Rider, starring Oscar-winning actor Nicolas Cage. Actor Crispin Alapag notably on Big Time In Hollywood FL, Ray Donovan, General Hospital and VR Troopers Power Rangers.

Former students have won at least five Academy Awards. Steven Spielberg (Class of 1969, BA 2002[82]) won two Oscars for Best Directing for Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan and has directed a number of other successful movies such as Jaws, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, and Jurassic Park. Former industrial design major John Dykstra, who has been nominated five times for Academy Awards,[83] won two Oscars for his special effects work on the George Lucas film Star Wars and the Sam Raimi film Spider-Man 2. Deborah L. Scott (BA[84]) won[85] an Oscar for costume design for the James Cameron film Titanic.

Emmy Award-nominated director Chris Carter (BA 1979) created the series The X-Files, which garnered several awards during its nine seasons on television. Former student Steve Martin, whose philosophy classes at the university inspired him to become a professional comedian,[87] is an Emmy Award winner and a Disney Legend.

Alumni and former students have also participated in the world of sports. Jason Giambi, Evan Longoria, Troy Tulowitzki, Harold Reynolds, Jered Weaver, Steve Trachsel, and Jason Vargas have all been selected to play in the Major League Baseball All Stars games. Matt Duffy won the World Series with the 2014 San Francisco Giants and continues to play third base for the Tampa Bay Rays. Golfer Mark O'Meara (BA 1980) won the Masters Tournament and The Open Championship.[88] Craig Hodges is a two-time NBA Champion, Terrell Davis is a two-time Super Bowl champion and Billy Parks played five seasons in the NFL. Diver Pat McCormick[88] won four gold medals in two consecutive Olympics (Helsinki and Melbourne), and Misty May-Treanor (BS 2002) won three gold medals in women's beach volleyball in three other consecutive Olympics (Athens, Beijing, and London). High Jumper Dwight Stones set the World Record while a student at Cal State Long Beach, in addition to winning the bronze medal at both the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich and 1976 in Montreal. Track and Field athlete Bill Green (BA 1984) set the United States and NCAA record three times in the hammer throw, and placed 5th at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

Former students Karen Carpenter and Richard Carpenter (Class of 1972, Honorary Doctorate 2000[86]) of The Carpenters are the namesakes of the Carpenter Performing Arts Center, a 1,065-seat performance hall on the campus of the university[89] that also houses an exhibit on the Carpenters.[90] Richard Carpenter's college instructor and choir director Frank Pooler inspired him in choral arrangement,[91] and both Karen and Richard participated in Pooler's choir. Pooler also introduced Richard to fellow undergraduate and future song-writing collaborator John Bettis.[91] Another undergraduate, Wesley Jacobs,[91] would join the Carpenters as a musical instrumentalist. The Carpenters sold over 100 million records,[86] won three Grammy Awards[86] out of eighteen nominations, and created numerous gold and platinum albums.


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